Cheat’s vegan banh cuon chay | Quick Vietnamese steamed rice rolls {gluten-free}

I know my last recipe was for a Vietnamese dish but stick with me. This one is that good. I remember the day I begrudgingly tried banh cuon chay. I was at my usual Vietnamese haunt and they had sold out of what I usually ordered (I’m known to rave about a restaurant for the one and only meal I’ve tried there). I saw that these steamed rice rolls were gluten-free and vegan so thought I’d give it a shot. What a blessing.

I’d never heard of them before or seen them on a restaurant menu and to this day, have not seen them on any other Sydney Vietnamese restaurant menus. It’s a shame because they are so fresh and light yet still feel like you’ve had a substantial meal. Better still, they are a great option for people with special dietary needs.

Making them at home has been on my mind for quite some time. The thought of making fresh rice sheets for them was what put me off making it earlier. Then I had a brainwave. I could layer a couple of sheets of dried rice paper to get the thickness I need, in less time and with far less stress. I reckon you should give this a shot. It’s nowhere near as laborious as you might think it is, and it tastes delicious. You’ll be eating it within the hour.

Steamed rice paper rolls

Cheat’s vegan banh cuon chay
Serves 3

For the banh cuon chay
1 clove garlic, minced
3cm piece ginger, grated
1 carrot, finely diced
50g wood ear mushrooms, finely sliced
65g organic, non-GMO tofu cubes, baked and diced
25g mung bean vermicelli noodles, cooked and finely chopped
27 rice paper rounds

For the dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Heat some neutral-flavoured coconut oil in a pan and sautee garlic. Add ginger, carrot, mushrooms and tofu, and cook until carrots start to soften. Add noodles and cook a further minute.

Transfer to a heatproof bowl and lay a damp tea towel on the kitchen bench, with a shallow dish next to it filled with water to soften the rice paper rounds.

Soften one rice paper round at a time and lay them on top of each other. Layer a maximum of three rounds per roll, and ensure you have removed as many air bubbles from each layer as possible.

Spoon some filling just below the centre and roll them tightly, as you would if they were fresh rice paper rolls. Repeat until all rounds have been used and there is no more filling left.

Place a couple at a time into a steamer. Put the lid on and steam for 3 minutes. Transfer to serving plates and repeat until all rolls have been steamed.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Adjust flavours to taste.

Pour dressing over the rolls and enjoy.

Advertisements

GF vegan crispy Vietnamese pancake (Bánh Xèo)

It took me a long time to realise that there is one pancake that is naturally gluten-free – and it could just be the best pancake that ever lived: the crispy Vietnamese pancake. I start salivating the minute I spot it on a menu.

I recently bought a Lodge cast iron pan to start making the pancakes at home, and boy, was that a great decision. It is magic with these pancakes AND every other dish I’ve made using it. I don’t know how I’ve lived without it for so long.

IngredientsCookingCooking 2Vietnamese pancake

GF vegan crispy Vietnamese pancake (Bánh Xèo)
Makes 4

For the pancake
250g white rice flour
50g glutinous rice flour
400ml coconut cream
3/4 cup filtered water
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable stock powder (see note below)
1 brown onion, finely sliced
100g baked tofu cubes
2 carrots, julienned
2 cos lettuce, to serve
Mint, to serve

For the dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Adjust flavours to taste.

Add flour through to stock powder into a bowl and whisk until combined.

Heat some oil in a cast iron pan and when hot, add some of the onion and tofu, and stir fry until onion starts to brown.

Keep the pan on a high heat and pour a large ladle of the pancake mixture into the pan. Let it cook for around 3 minutes then add some of the carrot on one half.

Check the edges can come away from the pan cleanly and gently lift the side without carrots away from the pan and onto the carrots. Let cook a minute longer before transferring to a plate.

Enjoy with dressing, fried shallots, mint and lettuce.

NOTE: I make my own vegetable stock powder from 2 tbsp mushroom powder mixed with 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cracked pepper and 1/2 tsp celery seeds.